If I Had My Life to Live Over Again
“If I had my life to live over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time. I would relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I know of a very few things I would take seriously. I would take more trips. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers and watch more sunsets. I would do more walking and looking. I would eat more ice cream and fewer beans. I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones… Oh I’ve had my moments; and if I had it to do over again, I’d have more moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead each day…”
How many of you are like Brother Jeremiah? Nearly half of American feel they don’t have enough time to do what they really want. They feel as though they’ll never catch up, that life is passing them over. If you’re like most American, your days are probably scheduled down to the last minute: rush to the grocery store, pick up the children or grandchildren, take care of an elderly parent or neighbor, make dinner, and then begin plotting the next day’s agenda. No time left for appreciating a beautiful sunrise, browsing a card/book store, appreciating the first bite of gourmet ice cream, or pampering yourself with an aroma therapy bath.
According to Jenkins, Repetti, and Crouter (2000), work stress has probably received more attention from work-family researchers than any other job condition. Job stresses have an impact on families when they cause some experience of stress within the individual, such as emotional distress, fatigue, a sense of conflict between work and family roles, or role overload. According to Jenkins and colleagues’ recent review of the research done during the last ten year, demands of multiple roles have the potential to increase stress levels and undermine well-being as well as compromise health. In fact, mothers and fathers who described more pressure at work also reported greater role overload and a feeling of being overwhelmed by multiple commitments. People who report more conflict and overload due to the combination of work and families roles tend to also describe more emotional stress.
We’ve all been there from time to time. But making an effort to enjoy life’s little moments simply means taking the time to stop and smell the roses. The secret is in slowing down long enough to enjoy the things that are the essence of life. After all, quality time is what makes life worth living. How sad that most of us think we can’t spare it.
Ten Easy Steps
Yet there are those who have discovered that the gift of life is realized one brief moment at a time. It’s time to slow down and start savoring life- it’s not as hard as you think. It’s time to simplify. That means being aware of how we spend money, time and energy. Here are 10 easy steps to get you started in simplifying your life and finding precious “me time.”
1. Start the day right. Save all that frantic wasted time used in the morning to prepare for the day. Spend the night before preparing for the next day.
2. Declutter your space. It takes energy to keep possessions in working order or dusted. Get rid of the stuff that’s broken or missing a part.
3. Learn to say “no”. Don’t overload your schedule with more tasks , more jobs, more volunteer time. It’s OK to say no.
4. Turn off the TV. We waste too much time sitting in front of the TV. Curb how many hours the TV is on. And before you pick up the remote control, ask yourself if there are activities to share with the family, or entertainment, like a museum visit or play, that you’ve been putting off.
5. Commit to number one. When the demands of work, parenthood, or household chores get you down, it’s time to schedule a date with yourself. Whether it’s every Sunday night or 20 minutes each morning, the important thing is to make a plan and stick to it.
6. Find a Sanctuary. Escape to a place to enjoy peaceful solitude.
7. Be Spontaneous. Spontaneity is key to feeling like you’re in control of your own destiny. Every once in a while, a change in routine can spark your spirits and your energy.
8. Live beneath your means. Did you know that 80% of America’s self made millionaires are frugal? If you want to achieve economic independence, try buying only what you can afford, not what you think you need. See how long you can go without cashing a check, charging on credit or buying anything. You’ll be amazed how ingenious and inventive you can be.
9. Rewrite the course of your day. When the newspaper’s horoscope doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, write your own, using words that make you feel great. Or start jotting down phrases you like on slips of paper, put them in a box, and pick as many as you need to start the day.
10. Listen to your body. You know what your biological clock prefers. Indulge it and watch your productivity grow.
The trouble with most people is that they work so hard making a living that they don’t have any time to live. Slow down and start savoring life- it’s not as hard as you think.
Hobfoll, S.E., & Hobfoll I.H. (1994). Work Won’t Love You back. New York: Freeman.
Jenkins, M.P., Repetti, R.L. & Crouter, A.C. (2000). Work and Family in the 1990s. Journal of Marriage
and Family, 62, 981-998.
Johnson, B. (1986). Fresh Elastic for Stretched Out Moms. Fleming H. Revell Publishing.
Lara A. (1994) Slowing Down in A Speeded-Up World. Conair Press
“The trouble with most people is that they work so hard making a living that they don’t have any time to live.”
Cynthia R. Shuster, M.S., Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Perry County, Associate Professor, Ohio State University Extension, The Ohio State University